Ode to Friendship: The Family We Choose
“If we treated ourselves as well as we treated our best friend, can you imagine?”
Friends can be just like family—only we get to choose them! Even without the blood ties that naturally unite us with our brothers and sisters, bonds of friendship—sometimes even stronger than family ones—can unite us with people who become so close to us that they are considered family, whether it’s the big brother we didn’t have or the little sister we would have liked to have.
Whether it’s a childhood friend we met in the neighborhood sandbox, a friend from elementary school with whom we played Marco Polo in the park, a friend from high school with whom we have forged bonds during the trying period of adolescence, or even a work colleague with whom we become very close, all friendships are equal. No matter how they came into being, they all had a reason to establish themselves and, at times, to crumble. Each friendship is unique and has a unique dynamic. There are billions of friendly affiliations on the planet, and none are the same: that’s the beauty of it. We must enjoy the good times shared, not forget the lessons learned the hard way, and, above all, understand that each person who enters our life does so for a reason that only fate knows, and it is up to us to understand the meaning.
Take time to nurture your most valued friendships the way you would nurture any living thing. Even if it’s the kind of friendship where you can go years without talking and pick up as if you never spent a day apart, be more vigilant and protective of these kinds of connections because they are life-affirming and enriching. Write a letter to your friend, buy them a cookie, or surprise them with flowers you picked from a field. Anything you do to nourish these bonds is worth the growth you’ll gain from having a close friend who has your back and knows you well enough to be honest with you, even if it’s sometimes difficult.
Affirmations adapted from the words of Beyoncé, Oprah, Maya Angelou, and Janelle Monáe.
I have the power to inspire and empower.
I see my flaws, but also the true beauty and strength that’s inside of me.
Passion is the log that keeps the fire of my purpose blazing.
If I don’t like something, I change it. If I can’t change it, I change my attitude.
I inspire others to feel stronger, braver, and more beautiful inside and out.
I own my superpower and use my strength to change the world around me.
Quotes from Badass Women
“If I don’t have friends, then I ain’t got nothin’.”
“It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it.”
—Zora Neale Hurston
“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”
“Friendship between women can resemble love. It has the same possessiveness as love, the same jealousies and lack of restraint. But the complicities of friendship are more durable than those of love, for they are not based on the language of the body.”
“A lot of women, when they’re young, feel they have very good friends, and find later on that friendship is complicated. It’s easy to be friends when everyone’s eighteen. It gets harder the older you get, as you make different life choices, as people say in America. A lot of women’s friendships begin to founder. I was interested in why that was, why it’s not possible for a woman to see her friend living differently and just think, Oh, she lives differently.”
“If friends disappoint you over and over, that’s in large part your own fault. Once someone has shown a tendency to be self-centered, you need to recognize that and take care of yourself; people aren’t going to change simply because you want them to.”
“Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses—pretty but designed to SLOW women down.”
“Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all takes a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.”
Remember, no matter how wonderful your friends or family are (or how horrible they can be as well), you are already your own best friend. Over the course of your life, people will come, some will stay, some will wander away or leave suddenly and inexplicably, and through all of that, you always have you. They say that hindsight is twenty-twenty, and thirty or forty years from now the people you think are most important in your life may still be as important, but, chances are, you will be the one constant you can depend on.
If you are going through a rough period in your life right now, remember that’s subject to change as well. Things get better if you are mindful and take the steps to get yourself into a better situation. And have some faith in yourself. You’re stuck with you for the rest of your life. You may as well believe in yourself.
-- A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self